Over the years, I’ve been asked many times for a hands-on solution to do Root Cause Analysis (RCA). I have described a process and a checklist to help organizations that want to start with it, and I´m providing a report with an example. They are available in the tools section of this website. If you need to convince your manager to do RCA, see Business Reason for Root Cause Analysis.
The purpose of Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is to analyze problems to identify the main causes that have led to them, and to initiate actions to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future. RCA helps you to take a system view, and understand what has happened. A RCA sessions can be done on any problem; often it is done on defects that were found by customers or during test, on major project disturbances, or findings from earlier (CMMI, risk or other) assessments. In all the RCA sessions that I have done there have been multiple, related causes.
Root Cause Analysis can also be done within Agile Retrospectives (see Getting Business Benefits out of Retrospectives, Getting to the Root Causes of Problems in a Retrospective and the book Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives for more information on how to do that).
Available information on Root Cause Analysis:
- Root Cause Analysis Process and Checklist
- Root Cause Analysis Report with an Example
- Business Reason of Root Cause Analysis
- eBook What Drives Quality?
- Getting Business Value out of Agile Retrospectives
- Root Cause Analysis in CMMI V1.3
- Real Quality Assurance Manifesto
- What Drives Quality?
- Publications on Quality and Root Cause Analysis
- Getting to the Root Cause of problems
- All postings related to Root Cause Analysis
Share your experiences!
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) has been used for many years to determine a fault’s first or “root” causes in order to identify process improvement opportunities that give a quick ROI. If you have any question on Root Cause Analysis, or experiences doing Root Cause Analysis, feel free to comment on this article.
(This blog was posted mar 18, 2011, updated sep 9, 2011: Added report template & example, and updated nov 14, 2012: links to new articles on Root Cause Analysis and updated jun 10 2013 and oct 15 2013, RCA as a way to do retrospectives).